Longtime Houston-based entrepreneur, aerospace executive, and tech investor Harvin Moore has been named president of Houston Exponential, the local non-profit working to accelerate the growth of Houston’s innovation ecosystem.
Moore is a principal at Frontera Technology Ventures (FTV), an advisory and seed-stage investment firm focused on high impact startup technology companies. Prior to FTV, Moore was the chief operating officer of Space Services Holdings, Inc.
“We are excited to welcome someone with Harvin’s track record to lead Houston Exponential through the next phase of growth in the ecosystem,” said Gina Luna, chair of Houston Exponential. “The Houston innovation community has made great strides in the last couple of years, and with Harvin’s leadership, HX will take our work to the next level.”
Moore has been involved in the Houston and Texas startup ecosystems for more than twenty years. He is an active mentor, advisor and angel investor with a number of startup development organizations including the Houston Angel Network, Capital Factory and Station Houston.
“As someone who has been involved in Houston’s digital tech ecosystem since its earliest days, I am inspired by the tremendous momentum generated in just the last few years,” Moore said. “We are at an inflection point, and I believe Houston Exponential will continue to be a catalyst driving Houston to become a leading innovation hub within the next two to three years.”
Houston Exponential was founded in October 2017 to help convene and build collaboration across the ecosystem with the goal to accelerate its growth. HX is focused on connecting all parts of the ecosystem, attracting talent and capital to the region, and promoting Houston as a thriving, innovative city. Since its founding, more than 400 volunteers have engaged in executing the organization’s mission.
Key players in Houston’s innovation ecosystem have made a number of transformative announcements in the last two years, including the designation of the four-mile Innovation Corridor stretching from downtown Houston to the Texas Medical Center; the development of an innovation district in Midtown by Rice Management Company centered around The Ion innovation hub; the Texas Medical Center’s announcement of TMC3, a translational life science research campus; and the $30 million first close of the HX Venture Fund, with ten Houston companies investing as Limited Partners.
Additional wins for Houston include the attraction of the MassChallenge accelerator; a strategic partnership between Microsoft, Intel, TXRX Labs and Station Houston to form The Ion Smart Cities Accelerator; the major expansion of Palo Alto-based fintech firm Bill.com into the Houston market; and the development of the UH Tech Sales Academy, among others.
“The pace of the wins and major announcements in our innovation space is rapidly accelerating, and I am pleased that HX has played a role in many of these, including being an enthusiastic champion for the work of many of our partners,” Luna said. “In this next phase of work, I expect we will continue to build valuable partnerships and will activate the venture capital firms that are showing tremendous interest in the Houston ecosystem and the startups here.”
Moore succeeds Russ Capper, the first executive director of Houston Exponential. Capper was appointed to the role in April 2018 and has been a vocal advocate for Houston entrepreneurs and start-ups since 2005. HXTV, a web video interview series highlighting companies and start-up leaders in the Houston market, was launched under Capper’s leadership and has become an important tool for promoting the myriad of impressive entrepreneurs in Houston. Plans are for Capper to continue to work with the organization producing additional episodes of this video series.
“We appreciate the work Russ has done to get us to this point,” Luna said. “I am excited that Russ will continue to be engaged with the organization through HXTV and continue in his passion of promoting innovation and entrepreneurs.”